Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Welcome to the World’s First Spaceport!

Foster + Partners have completed the world’s first space terminal for tourists in New Mexico. With about 800 people attending, the terminal building was officially named “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” while its two spacecraft, WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, flew overhead. The $209m spaceport will be a launch station for people and payloads on the rocket ships being developed for the company. The low-rise building is dug into the landscape beside the El Camino Real road and is entered through a cleft between the two wings. The spaceport hangar is located in the centre of the building, with administrative areas to the west and flight training and preparation areas to the east. The project was designed in collaboration with New Mexico architects SMPC and project manager URS Corporation. Commercial service will start up after the company gets a license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Nasa has already signed a $4.5m contract with the company for up to three chartered research flights. Passengers tickets cost $200,000 each. The two and a half-hour flights will include about five minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth that until now only astronauts have been able to experience.


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